One topic for the sacked CJ’s school lecture series
Exclusive by Raïssa Robles
I choose to celebrate today, our Independence Day, by exercising one of the most basic freedoms that we Filipinos fought so hard for with our blood, sweat and fears. Yes – fears.
There have been moments in my life as a journalist that the very act of writing has been a struggle in overcoming personal fears, such as fear of arrest, harassment or violence.
IMPORTANT UPDATE as of 6:21 p.m. of June 12: Pls see BELOW
The freedom to criticize the country’s movers and shakers is one expressly guaranteed by the Constitution.
And so today, I choose to write about another unfinished business of the Filipino people – that of ensuring that the former highest magistrate of the country will face the bar of justice to answer allegations of, among others, ill-gotten wealth.
Besides, former Chief Justice Renato Corona is working out ways for the next president to pardon him to restore all his political rights .
Earlier I had written that perhaps Corona is expecting to be given a presidential pardon by the next president. I stand corrected. A commenter named @Rolly has pointed out to me that Section 19 of Article VII of the Constitution specifically states that the president is barred from granting reprieves, commutations and pardons in cases of impeachment.
This means, therefore, that Corona stands impeached forever and will go down in history as the very first impeached official. Unless, the present Constitution is replaced or amended and he benefits from this. Still, Corona is bent on changing the way history will view him. And of dodging any prospective criminal cases.
Soon after his conviction in the impeachment trial, Corona quickly set himself up as THE champion of transparency and accountability. He announced his intention to mount a lecture series in various schools.
If he really does intend to face students, here is one thing those students can keep in mind and ask him about.
The least that we expect a Chief Justice of the Supreme Court to do is to tell the truth. It is because HIS WORD IS LAW. What he says goes.
And so, when Renato Corona was on the dock being made to explain by Senator-Judge Franklin Drilon why he had so much money in the bank and this was grossly disproportional to the sum of his salaries and allowances as a government official, Corona chose to give Drilon a sarcastic answer.
Here is their exchange in the official transcription of the impeachment court. The sentences in brackets are my own translation:
THE CHIEF JUSTICE. Iyong pesos naman po, gaya po nung ipinaliwanag ko, hindi ko pa rin nireport ‘yun kasi co-mingled funds ‘yon ng hindi—sa pangangasiwa ko lang po iyon hindi naman po sa amin ‘yon.
[The pesos, as I explained earlier, I did not also report because those were co-mingled funds under my care and those were not ours.]
SEN. DRILON. Okay. Iyon po ay sa pangangasiwa mo. Ngunit hindi ba dapat iyong pera na nasa pangangasiwa mo ay dapat ireport mo rin at iyong corresponding liability ay ireport mo. Halimbawa, 34.7 million ang inyong hawak for BGEI, iyan po ay liability, ngunit iyan din po ay assets, hindi po ba ‘yun?
[OK, those were under your care. But is it not the case that the money under your care should have been reported by you (as an asset) and the same should have been reported by you as a corresponding liability? For example, the 34.7 million you held for BGEI, that is a liability but that is also an asset, isn’t it?]
THE CHIEF JUSTICE. Pardon me, Senator, pero hindi po ako accountant. [Pardon me, Senator, but I am not an accountant.]
SEN. DRILON. Okay, sige. [Alright, sure.]
THE CHIEF JUSTICE. Hindi po ako nakakaintindi nung mga asset-liability debit-credit na ‘yan. Ang naintindihan ko lang po, iyong ordinaryong pagkakaintindi ng abogado diyan, na hindi naman akin, hindi ko naman inutang, kaya hindi ko naman po kelangang ireport.
[I do not understand all that (talk of) asset-liability, debit-credit. I only understand what a lawyer ordinarily understands, that because that (money) is not mine, I did not borrow that, that’s why I need not report it.]
If you listen to the exchange between Drilon and Corona, Corona’s voice was dripping with sarcasm. That was understandable. Corona had long perceived Drilon to be against him. Through his lawyers, Corona had tried to get Drilon sacked as one of the judges.
However, what is not understandable is why Corona claimed he did not understand what the words “asset-liability” and debit-credit” meant.
Because if there is one person who would have a keen understanding what these words mean, it is Corona.
Remember how English teachers test their students’ understanding of words by making them use these in a sentence? Let’s do the same with Corona. Let’s see if he had ever used these words in a sentence.
Offhand, I would say I am very sure Corona knows the terms “debit-credit” because he has used the word “debit” very well in a sentence. And the word “credit’ is the exact opposite of “debit”. He has also used the word “assets”.
Almost nine years ago on July 15, 2003, Corona penned a landmark decision [G.R. No. 152154] entitled Republic of the Philippines, petitioner, vs. Honorable Sandiganbayan (Special First Division), Ferdinand E. Marcos (Represented by his Estate/Heirs: Imelda R. Marcos, Maria Imelda [Imee] Marcos-Manotoc, Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. And Irene Marcos-Araneta)and Imelda Romualdez Marcos, respondents.
The decision forfeited the Marcoses’ ill-gotten loot stashed in Swiss banks in favor of the Philippine government. It’s a remarkable piece of writing that explained very complicated financial transactions in laymen’s terms. From my experience writing financial stories, one can only write such pieces in plain English after one has fully grasped the intricacies of the entire transaction.
I reviewed this landmark decision after Corona had sarcastically told Drilon he was not an accountant and therefore “hindi po ako nakakaintindi nung mga asset-liability debit-credit na ‘yan.”
I was stunned to read this paragraph from the Marcos forfeiture case that Corona had penned. In this paragraph, Corona was discussing Rayby Foundation, one of the secret Marcos foundations for stashing the loot. Corona wrote:
Rayby Foundation was established on June 22, 1973 in Vaduz with Fessler, Scheller and Ritter as members of the board of directors. Imelda issued a written mandate to Dr. Theo Bertheau to establish the foundation with a note that the foundation’s capitalization as well as the cost of establishing it be debited against the account of Trinidad Foundation. Imelda was named the first and only beneficiary of Rayby foundation. According to written information from SKA dated November 28, 1988, Imelda apparently had the intention in 1973 to transfer part of the assets of Trinidad Foundation to another foundation, thus the establishment of Rayby Foundation. However, transfer of assets never took place. On March 10, 1981, Imelda issued a written order to transfer all the assets of Rayby Foundation to Trinidad Foundation and to subsequently liquidate Rayby. On the same date, she issued a written order to the board of Trinidad to dissolve the foundation and transfer all its assets to Bank Hofmann in favor of Fides Trust Co. Under the account “Reference Dido,” Rayby was dissolved on April 6, 1981 and Trinidad was liquidated on August 3, 1981.
Did you read that?
Corona used the word “debited” correctly.
Read Corona’s sentence again:
Imelda issued a written mandate to Dr. Theo Bertheau to establish the foundation with a note that the foundation’s capitalization as well as the cost of establishing it be debited against the account of Trinidad Foundation.
He also used the word “assets” correctly four times.
So, let’s see now. Corona recently said he had no understanding of such accounting concepts. If true, who wrote this landmark decision on the Marcoses’ forfeiture case which the Supreme Court said he had penned?
If not – well, I’ll leave it to students to ask their guest lecturer Corona this question.
Please share this piece with your friends, your sons and daughters who might find themselves the audience of Corona’s lecture series.
One of the members of our Cyber Plaza Miranda – the growing community of readers and commenters who congregate on this site – has just made this very important observation.
We fondly call him “Judge Baycas” and he wrote the following:
TEACHER: “Use “debit” and “credit” in a sentence.”
RENATO C. CORONA:
Respondent Sarmiento denied having received the proceeds of the loan and in fact presented evidence showing that on the day petitioner claimed to have credited the subject amount, it was again debited or withdrawn by petitioner, admittedly upon the instruction of the officials from petitioner’s head office.
TEACHER: “Very good, Renato, very good!”
Baycas’ source is Corona’s decision on G.R. No. 133710, January 13, 2004
Pls click on this link to read Corona’s decision where he correctly used the words “credited” and “debited” , which Baycas found.
Perhaps other readers can find other decisions of Corona which shows the true extent of his knowledge about accounting concepts. Pls. post them here. Thanks.
Alizarin Viridia says
I WAS JUST A BOY when I started walking by, crossing wide Quiapo’s Plaza until the time in late afternoons I stopped for a while to listen to speeches in the makeshift wooden stage.
I can not remember speakers eloquently telling the government what to do. Instead I heard a lot of criticisms of things done wrongly by bureaucrats and politicians.
It seems all right to tell govt what to do but not too much NAMAN, as if the public know better how to do specific govt tasks. Give the guys the benefit of the doubt about knowing their jobs from the President down to the janitor. THEN give them HELL if they BUNGLED it wholesale or retail. That was to me CLASSIC Plaza Miranda. Don’t jump the gun on the President about constructing highways or giving Dolphy the highest Award, wait for the right guys beneath the President to do their jobs.
THAT’S THE KIND OF CPMers—I noticed—of long ago.
Alizarin Viridia says
I am sorry about the three postings 148, 150, 151. adding to the clutter
and unnecessary used of space. Next time if my first post fails, and doesn’t
get posted at once, I’ll just wait for the next day. May be Ms Raissa
can delete the two redundant entries.
which one do you want me to delete?
Alizarin Viridia says
148 and 150 THANKS.
It is a bashing season for chiefs of justice…SPAIN”s Chief Justice Carlos Divar resigned yesterday from office for cheating also…$35,000.00 vacation expenses but reported as business expense for his office! Mas malaki pala yun atin Corona $$$millions…!
Victin luz says
Ha ha for SEN. ARROYO and DEFENSOR SANTIAGO, Kung Kay CORONA iyan, HONEST MISTAKE LANG IYAN mam .
hahaha…dagdag uli…”maliit na dishonest mistake lang yan!”…
Sen. Meriam claims that the detained president GMA should be under house arrest lang…Sen. Honasan also agrees…reason daw “no foreign investors” will come in…
and he adds…nothing bad like this should be happening. As if he did not attempt to grab power in the past! Ano yun? good? Horse’s mouth talking!
adds some more…that a former president should not be treated like that. How? Reinstalling her back to power?
Qualifications, among others, for CJ…had been a judge for 15 years, or practice law for the same peirod of time. Was Corona a judge? No. Did he “practice” law for 15 years then? I guess not. Then, how come he made it CJ? What say you JBC? Anyway, tapos na yan. Kaya lang, is JBC really screening on these points?
sabi ni Sen. Joker…the screening now for CJ is ridiculous! Counter-sabi ng isa…yea, you voted for his acquittal…what kind are you?….Sagot ng isa…he is a joker in his judgments!
sabi ni Fr. Bernas on CJ selection, why JBC should be adding qualifications by requiring waiver of bank accounts?…wala naman daw yan sa Batas!…how about “probity” or “integrity”? sa Batas? eh kung may $2.5M or $10M sa bank account, can the JBC not ask “Mr. Candidate, you have $10M in your bank account, why be interested to become CJ?”….the salary is not so good!…Sagot: eh, dami UN funds dyan!…” “at “mga donors” sa mga kaso!” Parang si Fr. Bernas born yesterday!
jorge bernas says
Father bernas said, Why JBC should be adding qualifications by requiring waiver of bank accounts? Bakit siya nagtatanong nang ganoon? Nararapat lamang na ang isang candidato sa Chief justice of the supreme court ay walang tinatago sa mata nang bayan, parang gusto yata ni father bernas ay sinungaling at corrupt ang mapili sa posisyon nang chief justice? ANO KAYA KLASING PARI ITONG SI FATHER BERNAS? SAYANG DUMAGDAG NA NAMAN SA KAHIHIYANG NAMIN SA SIMBAHAN.
jorge bernas says
Tama ka sa mga sinasabi mo, Ngayon ako nahihiya sa paring si Bernas pilit tinatanong/tinutuligsa mga dagdag na kailangan para tayo makapamili nang Chief Justice. At kumampi pa ito noon kay convicted thief justice nato corona. at palagay ko tumanggap din ito nang SUV galing sa PCSO (immoral ito diba dahil sugal galing ang pera) dapat dito siya magkomento at manalangin nalang para walang gulo at huwag makisawsaw.
Kong loyal ka sa mga nagbibigay sa iyo dapat ay dumistansiya ka kong alam mong lantarang mali/pagnanakaw na ginagawa nila….
rafael l. vidal says
– Egypt’s ex president Hosni Mubarak had slipped in the bathroom of the maximum security Tora prison and hurt his neck, which caused a blood clot that started all his medical problems last Thursday, including heart attack and irregular breathing, said his attorney, Farid el Deeb;
– Paraguay president Fernando Lugo faces impeachment after a deadly clash between the police and landless peasants, that resulted to 17 deaths among the peasants. Lugo’s presidency became endangered when a liberal party that backed him before decided to join the opposition and support the impeachment, with 9 counts including the deadly clash. The lower house voted in favor of impeachment by a margin of 76-1;
-UK’s Queen Elizabeth’s property portfolio is now worth $12 Billion. The estate’s net profit reached 240M pounds last fiscal year ending May, 2012;
-Spanish banks need up to 62 Billion euros to restore stability to the nation’s troubled financial sector. The Spanish government will formally request for a loan at the euro area finance ministers’ meeting today at Luxembourg; and
-Miami Heat won game 5 by a rout against the young Oklahoma City Thunders 121-106 and Lebron James finally won a championship ring aside from being chosen as the playoff’s MVP. Credits go to Mike Miller, an injury-prone and seldom used veteran who made 7 3-pointers. Miami’s big 3 left the court with still 3:01 minutes to go and victory is assured.
Alizarin Viridia says
third and last try
RE 138.3 on my comments and replies from Fredicule, Jorge Bernas and Leona:
My comments were NOT intended to be critical of Senator Lacson. The intention is mental self exercise at my age, to discover the nuances behind events not people, what they do at the time when their souls are put on trial. It can not be helped that among good people some are better or best.
Rizal and Philosopher Socrates (alleged to be no-read-no-write sage like Jesus of Nazareth) were men for all times or history as they fought and attacked ideas and cultures of the permanent establishment WHILE Senator Lacson is man of the season against runaway corruption. The courage of the three men can’t be the same. I was not talking of the faults of men, but thinking of the good they can do for their fellow men.
2004 Presidential election is now water salted by and gone from the sea. I had two choices then: FPJ or Lacson. I voted for Lacson. They were both good men but the need of the hour was decisive action, regardless of the need for courtesy and civility and more humane solution to corruption. The acts of heroes and martyrs are not same. Lacson must have chosen not to be a sissy martyr against corruption. There’s still plenty of time to be a hero if he wants it.
I touch fist or high five with the detailed comments of Leona; She had looked at the trees why I only sweep the forest. The case of Angelo Reyes, what he has done decades before his entombment has no iota of salience or relevance to the events surrounding the lives of Rizal, Socrates and Lacson, To focus and discuss negative times and people I am sure Angelo Reyes as hero or heel will have a place on it.
In a lighter vein, death or suicide does not really obliterate or erased wrong doings of bad men; that makes their cronies or cohorts safe from the law. It is bad lawmen and bad lawyers that keep living perpetrators safe and happy, NOT DEATH OR SUICIDE of Masterminds. The Philippines need only the tenacity of a fictional Detective Murdoch to go after those saved by suicides.
Points well taken. A healthy discussion indeed. Be safe my friend.